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Pickle Dish, American China Manufactory (Bonnin and Morris), Philadelphia, 1771-72.
Soft-paste porcelain with lead glaze; height 4 3/16, width 4 1/2 inches.
Collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Gift of Mrs. Benjamin Rush, 1950.
Measuring over 12 by 17 feet, the massive scale of The Passage of the Delaware presents quite a challenge in any exhibition. The painting's first owner, John Doggett of Boston, created a custom 16 inch gilded frame for the work. The MFA, which has owned the piece since 1903, had no space large enough to display the painting in its frame until the American Wing opened in late 2010.
Despite government imposed taxes on luxury goods imported to the colonies, production costs remained too high for Bonnin and Morris to compete with the prices of English wares and they remained in business for only two years.
The mollusk shell shape of this dish is a classic rococo motif and this piece would have been molded using a real shell.
The design and decoration of this dish was based on English models, including the underglaze blue designs that imitated the landscapes of Chinese porcelain. Underglaze decoration is applied before the final firing of a ceramic body resulting in permanently fixed decoration.
A pickle dish was used to serve pickled fruits and nuts during the dessert course of a meal. Today approximately 5,200,000 pounds of pickles are consumed annually in the United States, or roughly nine pounds per person per year.
Estimate: $150 - $300 (FMV)
Listed By: Stephanie Retz
Location: Providence, RI
Estimate By: Jorge Luis González
The thick potting, simple decoration, small size and deep shape of the tray would indicate late 18th or early 19th century continental manufacture.» View All